Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ch10: Content-Area Learning

Testing Editing Update: I liked reading this chapter because it explained some of the differences between general strategies and content specific strategies.

I found interesting the information regarding systematic mistakes in thinking and reasoning, known as buggy algorithms.  The chapter states that these mathematical bugs develop when students incorrectly generalize productions when they encounter new problems.  The example used in the chapter is that students when working on regrouping tend to subtract the smaller number from larger no matter in which column the numbers are.  I think it's important for teachers to keep this in mind and immediately correct the student because students instead of stopping when they don't know what to do, apply their own rules and can make themselves believe that they are doing the work correctly since their computations are producing answers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ch9: Neuroscience of Learning

Pg. 375 Localization and Interconnections
I have always found reading and learning about the brain and how it functions very interesting.  First of all, I have to say I'm thankful to God who created me with a full functional brain. : ). Second, I don't consider myself either a left-brained or right-brained individual, because just like the rest of our anatomy, the brain sections are connected and function together, as a whole. Brain functions might be localized, but like the chapter states, the hemispheres work as a group.  Application 9.1 gives examples on how to teach to both hemispheres of the brain, stating that for students to successfully learn a concept, both hemispheres must be engaged, content should be combined with context. Which is basically what we've been learning all along in this course, students learn when they are motivated and engaged, when lessons become meaningful to them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ch11: Motivation

I really enjoyed reading this chapter.  It brought me back so many memories of when I was teaching.

Pg. 460 Hierarchy of Needs

It was interesting to see Maslow's hierarchy of needs. As per the reading the lack of satisfaction of the first four needs (physiological, safety, love/belonging, & esteem) can lead to mental problems.  I wonder if it would be ok to satisfy the first two or three needs, since we do need love to be healthy, (physiological, safety, love/belonging) and then fulfill the self-actualization need and then fulfill the need for self esteem.  I think it would work out okay, because self-actualization is defined as people being more self-aware, more concerned with their personal growth and less concerned with the opinions of others, so if they were working to fullfilling their potential this would increase their self esteem.

This is hard for me to explain, but I often see students with low self esteem and low self worth, and it's hard to tell what made them feel/think this way or to even get them to explain why they feel the way they do because they worry so much about what others think or might think. I think that it would make a difference in students if they would focus more on their own needs to become successful or fulfill their own potential before they worry about others around them, but how do you that, with the society that we live in that puts so much focus on what others do.

Additional reading

Ch8: Development and Learning

Pg. 350 SES
I often hear people say that students that come from poor families aren't successful because of their socio-economic status or that they won't be successful because of their situation.  I wish people would stop labeling others and instead help the students in need to better their situation and in return better their development. I understand that sometimes we can't change everything but every little that we do helps.  Sometimes to help the students you have to get the parents involved. I'm sure things change at different grade levels, but me and my team would do house visits when we thought it would help the student.

Pg. 362 Classroom Climate
Speaking of things changing with grade levels, I was surprised to read that after the primary grades praise is not an effective reinforcer.  It does makes sense that younger children respond to praise because they want to please adults, but it also makes sense that as they get older they see praise as irrelevant unless it's linked to their progress.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ch7: Cognition and Instruction

Pg. 313 Technological Applications
I tried to use the personalized format every time it was feasible when my students worked on Math story problems. I found it made it easier for them to understand the problem.  Sometimes I would pair them up and have them act out the problems.  They really enjoyed it. I started doing this because even though they could break up the problem with the use of their strategies sometimes they would get the operation incorrect.  If they personalized it, it seemed to make more sense since they thought of themselves performing the actions described in the problem.

As for technology integration in the classroom, I believe that even if you have the best of the best hardware/software, if you don't use it, you will not see any benefit.  If you want to see benefits/results you have to go the extra mile, by learning the technology, and then modifying it as you go along if you see that it's not functioning the way you expect it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ch6: Constructivist Theory

Pg. 250 Verbalization  and Achievement
I was happy to learn that this is used often as a strategy to improve student learning. The last chapter left me wondering if there was something wrong with me since I tend to do this personally, but now I realize that I'm just helping myself understand whatever it is that I'm doing or working on, in essence I'm improving my own learning : ) . Now, I wonder if someone taught this to me and it stuck with me or if it's something that I just started doing on my own.

Pg. 256 TARGET
I found this very interesting. I like it. I did some of these things when I taught, but I don't think I incorporated everything in one single unit/lesson.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ch5: Cognitive Learning Processes

Pg. 208 Implications for Instruction
I found interesting that they mentioned the verbalization of thoughts as a problem-solving skill. I personally do this a lot, have always done it, mostly when I don't understand something; however, I notice that people find it strange. I often get asked, "are you talking to yourself again?" I do this because sometimes it makes it easier for me to understand something, I ask myself questions aloud, could be about a project I'm working on or simply when I'm reading. Asking myself questions triggers thoughts about something I previously read and helps me make connections and understand what I'm reading. Sometimes I can't concentrate and reading aloud helps me stay focused.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ch4: Cognitive Information Processing Theory - Attention and Learning

Pg. 140 Student Attention in the Classroom
I liked the ideas described on how teachers can increase student attention.  I thought it was a given that teachers needed to be more active and more creative delivering instruction to engage and motivate students to learn, but now I know not all teachers think this way.  I met a teacher who's major concern was keeping the students quiet at all times.  She would lecture ask the students questions that required a specific answer and never really let the students answer their own thoughts about what was being read or taught.  I would hardly ever sit in my classroom, during story time I would always walk around, I liked changing my voice when I was reading the stories and sometimes acted out pieces of the story. The students really liked it and they seemed to understand what was going on in the story and how the characters were feeling, it helped me keep their attention throughout the lesson.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ch3: Social Cognitive Theory - Goals and Expectations

Pg. 102 Self-Set Goals
Having students set their own daily or weekly goals seems like a good idea. I wish I had done this with my students.  Has anyone done this with their students? If you have, can you provide examples/ideas.

Ch3: Social Cognitive Theory - Functions of Modeling

Pg. 85 Response Facilitation
"Chameleon effect, whereby people nonconsciously mimic behaviors and mannerisms of people in their social environments.

I sometimes notice that many children often go through fads, whether it be fashion, words they say, mannerism, then I notice that they are imitating pop artists or actresses/actors.  Could this be an example of the chameleon effect?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ch2: Conditioning Theories - Programmed Instruction

Pg. 67 Programmed Instruction
Third paragraph describes how sometimes failure is a good thing because it makes the learner work harder at a difficult task, this then provides information as to what the learner can and cannot do.  I guess this information could then be used in the analysis of whether a student has mastered an objective or if remedial work should be given to the learner.  I wonder though, if not being able to successfully complete a task would frustrate a student that is used to constant success?

Ch. 2: Conditioning Theories - Habit Formation and Change

Pg. 42-43 Table 2.2 Guthrie's methods for breaking habits.
I found this very interesting.  Breaking a habit with the fatigue method.  Knowing this would have been very helpful with that student that liked making and playing with those paper spinners during class.  Has anyone tried/used the fatigue method in their classroom to break a habit?

Ch. 2: Conditioning Theories - Instructional Applications

Pg. 32. Sequence of Curricula
Wow, I have to say that I agree with Thorndike on this one.  Skills should be introduced to students/learners at the right time or when it best benefits the learners.  But, just thinking back to when I was in the classroom, makes me nervous.  I remember I would try so hard to create my lessons so that they addressed my students' different learning needs, but sometimes it was just not possible due to the gaps between my students.  I taught 3rd grade students Math and ESL and some of my students were recent immigrants and their reading levels were very low. I had to pull those students out and work with them individually, so it took a lot of creativity from my part to keep the rest of the students going forward while helping my beginners catch up.

I also think that the segregation of content in our schools makes it difficult to teach learners knowledge and skills in the context of different subjects.  I really really liked the suggestion made by Thorndike's view on the sequence of curricula (Application 2.1 pg. 33) that learning should be integrated across subjects.  Brilliant. I agree that this approach does indeed provide a meaningful experience for children and "real life" learning of various skills. I think that this is what schools strive for, but due to the focus on preparing learners for state examinations is not done appropriately.  What do you all think about this?